Beneath the Crust of Culture: Psychoanalytic Anthropology by Howard F. Stein

By Howard F. Stein

In underneath the Crust of tradition, the writer provides a pioneering interpretation of tradition as constituting a dynamic courting among the noticeable "crust" and the elusive "core" of social lifestyles. He meticulously maps the function of the subconscious in shaping a lot of yankee lifestyles within the past due twentieth and early twenty first centuries. He crosses and transcends disciplinary barriers in experiences of September eleven, 2001, the 1999 Columbine excessive tuition bloodbath, the execution of Timothy McVeigh, the 1995 Oklahoma urban bombing, the 1999 Worcester, Massachusetts hearth, and the eruption of hypernationalism and xenophobia in international locations and places of work ﷓﷓ all as cultural phenomena with a psychodynamic center. He indicates how the event of loss within the face of huge social switch usually results in both giant defence opposed to the adventure of mourning. This publication could be of curiosity not just for behavioural and social technological know-how execs, but additionally for a lay public drawn to understandings of tradition deeper than the outside of the scoop and of legitimate pronouncements.

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Extra info for Beneath the Crust of Culture: Psychoanalytic Anthropology and the Cultural Unconscious in American Life (Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies)

Sample text

Emotional distance (the result of distancing) had to create and widen the gap formed by geographic, physiognomic, and cultural proximity and likeness. Further, it is to be remembered that the assailants—Eric, Dylan, and their fellow Trenchcoat Warriors—viewed the ostensible high school “normals” as monsters and monstrosities as well. The media (television, radio, newspaper, magazine) serve a vital psychological role in interpreting an event in American culture to the culture in such a way as conventional defenses are affirmed.

For instance, two members of the “Trench Coat Warriors”—Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold—massacred 13 people, then killed themselves, at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, the anniversary of Hitler’s birthday. They borrowed from Nazi mythology and from Gothic black. They imported Nazi racism and translated it into the American idiom. Themselves “outsiders,” they came to despise ethnic and racial “outsiders” in America. At least part of their radicalism drew from an attempt to reverse and obliterate the shame of ostracism and isolation from their peers.

In the planned slaughter, Harris and Klebold would repeat the humiliation, except now mastering all earlier trauma by becoming the humilators. Had events gone as planned, Harris and Klebold would in fantasy have obliterated as many people as possible who had seen them, and then more. Clearly, they no longer experienced their enemies and intended victims as persons, but as evil things (“part objects”). As an aside, Heinz Kohut’s work on “chronic narcissistic rage” (1972) and its concomitant inseparability of subject and object, comes to mind as part of the “solution” to global, total, humiliation.

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